## Abstract

Traditional statistics instruction emphasizes a.05 significance level for hypothesis tests. Here, we investigate the consequences of this training for researchers’ mental representations of probabilities — whether.05 becomes a boundary, that is, a discontinuity of the mental number line, and alters their reasoning about p-values. Graduate students with statistical training (n = 25) viewed pairs of p-values and judged whether they were “similar” or “different.” After controlling for several covariates, participants were more likely and faster to judge p-values as “different” when they crossed the.05 boundary (e.g.,.046 vs.052) compared to when they did not (e.g.,.026 vs.032). This result suggests a categorical perception-like effect for the processing of p-values. It may be a consequence of traditional statistical instruction creating a psychologically real divide between so-called statistical “significance” and “nonsignificance.” Such a distortion is undesirable given modern approaches to statistical reasoning that de-emphasize dichotomizing the p-value continuum.

Original language | English (US) |
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Pages (from-to) | 414-425 |

Number of pages | 12 |

Journal | Topics in Cognitive Science |

Volume | 14 |

Issue number | 2 |

DOIs | |

State | Published - Apr 2022 |

### Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:© 2021 Cognitive Science Society LLC.

## Keywords

- Categorical perception
- Probabilistic reasoning
- Rational number processing
- Statistical significance
- Statistics education

## PubMed: MeSH publication types

- Journal Article